This is a small pastel I did en plain air, with a painter buddy who lives nearby. I did this in the early spring. This is an elegant stone church in south St Louis called Epiphany Lutheran Church. It is at the intersection of Leona and Holly Hills. It is across the street from Carondelet Park, which is where Jane and I painted this. Both she and I love to paint architecture. The color of the pastel board is gray, so it was easy to add my windows and shadows by just erasing away the pastel.
I enjoy the experience of having people come to talk to me during my outdoor painting sessions. I got to meet a neighbor who lives on Holly Hills near this church. She made a wonderful shawl for my painter friend Jane, and she told me all about the Shake festival in Forest Park, which features a free play every evening in June by Shakespeare. This year is Romeo and Juliet.
The trees did not have leaves on them when we painted this. However, my son Andrew suggested I add leaves to the trees. I did that, and I’m glad I did.
This is the first blog I’ve done in a while. My son needed major surgery this past summer, and this fall my mother has had serious medical issues.
I just completed this pastel drawing called “Mermaid Riding Fish”. I did this in Nupastels. The surface I used was a black toned professional artist quality pastel paper with a very rough surface – like sandpaper.
This is a scene at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is in front of the climatron, which is a very large greenhouse filled with tropical plants and trees. There is a formal series of reflecting pools with lily pads, bronze sculptures, and glass art by Dale Chihuly, such as the yellow onion bulb here.
I took a photo of the scene, and used my ipad Mini as a reference point. I started with a detailed drawing in white “charcoal”. Then, I put in the background. I used a lot of blue green for the background, because the coolness adds depth to the scene. I decided to use a pretty strong blue green for the banana trees in the background. The statue in real life is bronze, and is done by a Swedish sculptor by the name of Carl Milles in the 1950’s. For the colors of the sculpture, I used yellow ochre and blue green together for the mid range values. For the hilights, I used a warm off white, then surrounded it with yellow and orange. I also used this orange in other areas of the painting such as the lily pads, the background landscaping, and the glass onion bulb base. The orange at the base of the glass onion gave it more richness and depth. The blue sky reflecting in the water contrasts very nicely with all of the yellow and orange. The bright yellow glass onion shows up well with the dark water surrounding it. The reds of the blooms in the background landscaping are a foil color, and break up the yellow/green/blue theme.
Overall, this piece has a warm, sunny, lush feeling to it. It shows summer at it’s best – lush green foliage, blue skies, splashing fountains, and bright sun. Here is the listing in my online store.
Today, I went to Goldman, Missouri to paint this quaint old covered bridge. It was a perfect day to paint outside – gentle breezes, warm, but not hot, and best of all I found a shady spot in which to paint this. This was done in soft pastels. First, I walked all around the area to find a good view. Then, the smart phone came in handy to make a good composition, avoiding center lines. A few lines were drawn based on this, and then the gadget was put away.
I completed the drawing in white “charcoal” using Sennelier La Carte pastel board in the color sienna. This has a rough, toothy surface that grabs and hold on to the pastel. It is possible to layer it thickly, and get some really good intense, vibrant colors in there. NuPastels were used first – dark, earthy red for the shadow side of the
covered bridge, and a bright tomato red for the light side. I paid attention to the structures inside of the covered bridge, as well. Cooler, grayer greens were selected for the background trees, and warmer, higher chroma greens for the foreground trees, shrubs, and grass. I also blended and softened the edges of the background trees. Dark blue was lightly scumbled over the green for the darker shadow areas of the greenery. Finally, the large tree covering the left side of the bridge was left out, as the composition would benefit from an area of flat color to offset all the variations in the surrounding greenery and the sun dappling.
I love to paint bright, sunny scenes. The key to that is to use a strong value system, including darks. This supports the lighter yellow greens, pinks, peaches, etc in this landscape. I made a special point to use my blue greens as well for the shadowy areas. Can you see the contrast between the warm and cool areas?
A guy was riding his bike over the bridge. That would really add a lot, to put him in there on his bicycle, so I asked him to ride through again slowly, and he kindly obliged. He was very nice, and we talked for a while. He took some pictures of me painting.
I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday. I went to Forest Park here in St Louis
Missouri to paint en plein air. My sister came out and joined me for part of the painting session, which was an added bonus! I painted the visitor’s center. This is one of the many charming old buildings in this town. St Louis has much beautiful, older architecture. I remember spending hours with my art teacher at age 8 learning to paint cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc. and learning how to shade them to make them look 3 dimensional. This is probably why I enjoy painting buildings to this day.
It was a perfect spring day. The sun was shining, and it was warm without being hot. I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.
My sister and her family went to Thailand, and both of my nephews (her kids) have had jobs teaching English there. They took many wonderful photographs of it. I used one of the photos to do a painting. I was very charmed by this colorful little house with the bougainvillea growing in front of the dirt path. Notice there is a primary triad color scheme blue, yellow, red (pink). This painting is done in acrylic. I used a warm and cool of each of the primary colors yellow, red, and blue, titanium white, and burnt umber, to make an optical black. The pigments I used were azo yellow, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, and phthalocyanine blue.
It was hard to get the correct shade of blue on the roof. I’m new to acrylics, and am still learning how to account for the color shift. They turn darker as they dry. I was happy with the way the sky, distant mountains, and banana tree all came out. I think the bamboo structure for the bougainvillea is neat as well.
I just finished this painting a few minutes ago. I used a photo as a reference for this. My usual style is high key, colorful painting. My goal in this particular piece was to loosen up a bit, and paint somewhat more softly. I love how the violets and blues in the mists contrast with the golds, yellows, and reds in this.
My palette consisted of zinc/titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow deep, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, purple lake, indigo, and terre verte, and burnt umber. (I don’t care much for terre verte, but I wanted to use it up). I mixed indigo with burnt umber to make my dark.
Fall is my favorite time of year. We had an especially spectacular one this year here in Missouri. It was extended due to warmer than usual weather.
I just met a woman who is also a painter, and she lives only about a mile away. We have gone painting a couple of times, and having a painting buddy is very motivating to get me painting more regularly.
For the past several years, I had gotten more in the habit of studio painting, and was doing little painting on location. However, I need the challenge of painting a scene on the spot, and knowing that I have to get it down quickly, because the light changes so fast.
Jane and I painted in south St Louis at the corner of Loughborough and Field. There is a quaint old brick house at the corner, with some whimsical trees, and stepping stones laid around. I think these types of properties are so much more pretty and interesting that a perfectly manicured new home with that sterile, plastic look to it. I love the weathered, irregular look. It tells a story, and I can feel the history that happened here.
So I was very drawn to the two trees with the colorful autumn leaves still clinging to them, even into December, since we’ve had such a mild autumn. I love the contrast between the bright colors of the leaves with the bluish grayness of the neighbor’s house behind it. I also like the contrast of the straight lines of the houses with the sinuous, twisting lines of the trees that almost seem to be dancing.
To be honest, I had a hard time with this painting. My heavy, bulky coat managed to knock one of my pastel trays onto the ground, spilling them all over. I also didn’t simplify the scene at first, and tried to include too many elements. I messed up the sky, and had to remove it, and redo it. I tried to soften the pastel marks of the left tree, and ended up with a muddy mess. At one point, I was so frustrated I considering giving up on it. Thankfully, I calmed myself down, and just went on trying to rescue it. It came out better than I anticipated. Here is the listing in my online store.